China to boost public diplomacy, exchanges

Updated: 2013-01-01 02:50

By ZHANG YUNBI (China Daily)

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Foreign minister highlights spirit of inclusiveness and mutual learning

Public diplomacy is a major direction for China to explore in the future, and tangible efforts will be made to boost public diplomacy and cultural exchanges, Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said in Beijing on Monday.

China to boost public diplomacy, exchanges

The unveiling ceremony of the China Public Diplomacy Association is held at Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing on Monday with Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi (center right) and the association's first president Li Zhaoxing (center left). The association is a non-profit organization aimed at boosting China's public diplomacy. Zou Hong / China Daily

Yang made the remarks at the unveiling ceremony of the China Public Diplomacy Association at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing.

"Under the new circumstances, boosting public diplomacy and cultural exchanges will foster mutual understanding between China and the world, deepen the ties in between and strengthen efforts to achieve positive interactions and common development," Yang said.

The foreign minister highlighted the spirit of inclusiveness and mutual learning, and he also endorsed the role of enhancing dialogue and communication.

The CPDA is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing professional consultation and coordination services to advance the development of China's public diplomacy.

Members of the China Public Diplomacy Association gathered earlier in the morning. Li Zhaoxing, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of China's National People's Congress, was elected president of the association.

In a speech during the conference, Li said the association will be dedicated to "promoting China's soft power" by mobilizing and coordinating social resources and civilian efforts for Chinese public diplomacy.

Shen Dingli, director of the Center for American Studies at Fudan University in Shanghai, said working toward the goal of a country's wider acceptance by the international community is one of the aims of a public diplomacy mission.

"The report of the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China has for the first time mentioned the concept of 'public diplomacy' as a crucial channel for boosting mutual understanding between China and other countries," Shen said.

Deepening cultural exchanges and telling the world the story of China's peaceful development are among the current priorities, Shen added.

In 2012, China's diplomacy made tangible efforts in promoting public diplomacy as well as cultural exchanges, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said on Monday.

Beijing will further beef up diplomatic efforts in missions relating to people, especially cultural exchanges involving talented youths, to "encourage social and public sentiment for developing ties with foreign countries", Hua said.

China has favorable conditions for public diplomacy and also faces serious challenges, said Ma Zhengang, deputy president of the CPDA and former Chinese ambassador to the United Kingdom.

"A solid job of public diplomacy requires tangible effects and fruits, rather than insubstantial things," Ma said at a mid-December public diplomacy seminar in Beijing.

Public diplomacy should serve to guard China's lawful rights and interests overseas and stabilize external circumstances, Ma added.

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